Archive for the ‘frack off’ Category

Lancashire says NO to fracking

June 30, 2015

In what could well be the death blow to fracking, Lancashire has voted NO to fracking.

The fracking industry had hoped to get approval in Lancashire, then use that to gain leverage across the country.

Councillors ignored how their officials told them to vote, and for once voted how the people told them to vote.

Questions need to be asked, why officials were in bed with Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla claim will impact upon energy security. Like everything else from Cuadrilla complete and utter nonsense. The amount of shale gas small, its impact negligible, it would also be sold on the open market, thus just as likey to be shipped to Europe.

Energy security will be achieved when we have locally owned and controlled power grids, fed by renewables.

FoE claim the success was theirs. It was not, any more than it was down to 38 Degrees (who also claimed the credit). The decision was won by the hard work of the people of Lancashire, supported by people across the country.

The vote was 10-4 to REJECT. Who were the four councillors who voted for fracking? Name and shame in order that they may be kicked out at the next elections.

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Advertising Standards Agency bans Greenpeace anti-fracking ad

May 6, 2015
banned Greenpeace anti-fracking ad

banned Greenpeace anti-fracking ad

The banning of a Greenpeace anti-fracking ad by the ASA is indicative of the revolving door and how corrupt the political system has become.

Chris Smith used to be a Labour government minster.

On leaving office, jobs for the boys, seats on the board of Big Business or on a quango, true to script he heads the Environment Agency.

As boss of the Environment Agency he gave the OK to frack in National Parks.

Now he heads the ASA.

As head of the ASA he banned a Greenpeace anti-fracking ad.

Greenpeace:

The ASA just banned our anti-fracking ad!

Here are the facts:

A few months ago we published a newspaper ad stating: “Experts agree – [fracking] won’t cut our energy bills.”

The ASA asked for evidence to back up the claim — so we submitted statements from 22 experts and commentators including leading academics, the energy secretary Ed Davey, and even quotes from fracking firm Cuadrilla.

This wasn’t enough for the ASA and they still said the ad was misleading. But the only evidence they could provide to back that up?… A quote from the prime minister.

Oh and one other thing… the chair of the ASA, Lord Chris Smith, happens to be the head of the Task Force on Shale Gas (a group funded by the fracking industry).

Chris Smith heads an independent inquiry into fracking. An inquiry financed by the fracking industry.

Murdoch, Lord Rothermere, Barclay Brothers, and the porn baron who owns the Express, are doing their best to pervert the course of the election.

But that is ok, they have money, and money buys our corrupt politician system.

If you think this is wrong, then please share the image, share this article.

Tories, Labour and LibDems, all support fracking.

Fracking, climate change, airport expansion, have not featured in the election campaign.

If we do not drastically cut our carbon emission, there will be no future.

If you want to know more about fracking, please watch the talk by Dr Ingraffea, a leading industry expert on fracking.

Ban fracking

January 26, 2015

The gas extracted from shale deposits is not a ‘bridge’ to a renewable energy future – it’s a gangplank to more warming and away from clean energy investments. — Anthony Ingraffea

If we are serious about avoiding dangerous climate change, the only safe place for shale gas remains in the ground. — Kevin Anderson

With unequivocal scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of [climate change], the EAC’s conclusions are a beacon of light in a sea of expedient half truths. — Kevin Anderson

Fracking is often touted as a bridge fuel, it is not. It release methane, making it as polluting as burning coal. it pollutes ground water, triggers earthquakes.

Despite the ConDem government falling over backwards to promote shale gas, by paying for drilling, generous tax regime, relaxing planning controls, only eleven wells are planned.

An example of how rotten and corrupt the CondDem government, where their paymasters call the shots, is the leaked letter George Osborne has sent to cabinet colleges calling for racking to be fast tracked.

  • £5 million of taxpayer funding to providing independent advice to the public
  • make available public land including MoD land for fracking
  • build on existing network of neutral academic experts available to provide credible evidence-based views
  • Secretary of State can at his discretion” take the power to overrule local planning decisions
  • responding favourably to requests from fracking industry
  • ministers make dozens of interventions to fast-track fracking a personal priority
  • intervene in local planning applications

Osborne expects to see rapid progress on his list of demands.

An example of so-called neutral academic experts is petroleum engineer Prof Quentin Fisher at the University of Leeds:

It is disappointing to see a government committee putting the ill-informed views of anti-fracking groups ahead of evidence-based scientific studies.

Unless evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume Quentin Fisher is an ill-informed mouthpiece for Dirty oil, as his ignorant ill-informed comment would demonstrate.

I do not think Anthony Ingraffea, a lifetime in the oil industry, a pioneer of many the techniques, and one of the strongest critics of fracking, is ill-informed.

Commenting on the Osborne letter, Friends of the Earth campaigner Tony Bosworth:

This letter shows government and industry working hand-in-glove to make sure fracking happens. Such collusion with a highly unpopular industry will just make fracking an even more politically toxic issue. The government should follow other countries and call a halt so we can assess the risks to the environment, people’s health and our climate.

FoE should stop pussyfooting around. We do not need a halt we need an outright ban.

What the leaked letter shows, apart from George Osborne acting for his paymasters, is that we must get dirty money out of politics, where politicians like Osborne are whoring for Big Business and Dirty Oil.

Protesters have seen off fracking in Balcombe, and it now seems Lancashire.

Protesters have seen off fracking in Romania, Poland, New York.

The House of Commons Environment Audit Committee has today called for a halt to fracking.

Today sees Members of the House of Commons vote on The Infrastructure Bill, which will give a green light to fracking, and make a mockery of any democratic accountability.

Please sign the petition URGENT, calling on MPs to vote against.

Also please sign the petition calling for a global ban on fracking.

And please sign the Stop Fracking petition from Tessa Munt.

Fracking is not a bridge fuel, any more than deepwater, Arctic, tar sands. We know we have to keep 80% of known carbon reserves in the ground. The fossil fuels we can burn, are a bridge fuel. If we explore for more, we have built expensive infrastructure with a lifetime of decades. There will be pressure to recoup that investment. Already Dirty Oil has trillions of dollars of stranded assets. That investment should go towards creating a renewable future, local energy grids.

The Infrastructure Bill‏

January 12, 2015
Infrastructure Bill a threat to the environment and democracy

Infrastructure Bill a threat to the environment and democracy

As you read this, a monster of a bill is passing smoothly and quietly through Britain’s parliament. It’s so big and complex, and covers so many topics, that it makes a mockery of democracy. — George Monbiot

The Infrastructure Bill currently passing through Parliament includes a legal obligation on current and future governments to help trash the world’s climate – or in other words to “maximise economic recovery of UK petroleum”.

It would also change the trespass law to allow fracking companies to drill beneath people’s homes and land without their permission and to leave any substance or infrastructure in the land.

The Infrastructure Bill has already passed through the House of Lords, and is now in the House of Commons at the Committee Stage, where a closed Committee are discussing and amending it. When the Committee have reported back to the House of Commons (currently scheduled for 15 or 16 January 2015) it will then move to the Report Stage, where a new version of the Bill (with new section/clause numbers) will be released, and opened up for all MPs to make amendments to it, and vote on it.

It is not only oil, or benefit to the oil industry, basically it is a free for all for greedy developers and a massive attack on democracy, a massive assault on the environment. Once again, corrupt politicians dancing to the tune of their paymasters.

If the Bill becomes law the following will occur:

  • Any public land (apart from that owned by the royal family and now our forests) can be transferred to the government’s Homes and Communities Agency, to be passed on to private firms to use for any kind of development, with all rights of public access removed
  • The recovery of gas and oil – including fracking, coal gasification, coalbed methane extraction and geothermal – anywhere in Britain to be a legal objective
  • The right to dump and abandon any substance whatsoever under any land (including radioactive and gases)
  • The right to drill under any land, public or private
  • Major projects (such as power stations, new towns, high-speed rail and motorways) to be decided on by government rather than councils, with communities also unlikely to be consulted
  • Any species deemed non-native (including barn owls, red kites, goshawks) can be controlled or exterminated
  • Councils given short time limits to enforce planning restrictions or their duties will be discharged by a panel of two government inspectors and a minister, giving developers free rein
  • The Land Registry to be given major new powers to hold local registers, and be the judge, jury and executioner on land ownership
    disputes

  • Anyone building fewer than 50 houses in a development will no longer need to ensure they are zero carbon or eco-friendly

This turns on its head the principle the polluter shall. Instead of legislation obligating a clean up, we have passed into legislation that polluters have a legal right to pollute as they please and under no obligation to mount a clean up.

One only has to look at the level of pollution ChevronToxico has left in the Amazon to see how bad it can be.

The Infrastructure Bill will drive a coach and horses through any planning controls, removing what is at best only a fig leaf of local planning control, accountability to those on the extraction front line.

Infrastructure Bill creates a gravy train for major infrastructure projects like HS2 High Speed Rail Link London to Birmingham.

We know that to keep global temperature rise to below 2C, 80% of known carbon reserves have to be kept in the ground, and even 2C will lead to more extreme weather events.

Infrastructure Bill turns this on its head, a gung ho push to extract more not less.

11am Wednesday 14 January 2015, there will be a mass lobby of Parliament, with people going in to speak to their Members of Parliament directly about the Bill.

If you can’t attend, you can still write to your Member of Parliament about the Bill, asking them to support amendments that would remove the clauses on maximising recovery of oil and gas, and on changing the trespass laws, and on the other attacks on democracy.

Stop fracking censorship

January 10, 2015

It is bad enough David Cameron is in the pocket of the fracking industry, that our rights to object to fracking are being taken away.

Now we have a report on fracking the ConDem government are refusing to release. Even Members of Parliament are only being allowed to see a redacted copy.

This can only mean one thing. The report shows fracking not to be safe.

In a discussion between Russell Brand and George Monbiot, the discussion was politicians are owned by their paymasters. We see a prime example. We must get dirty money out of politics, and make it clear to the clowns in Westminster, they are there to act for us.

The fracking report has been redacted, and please do not laugh, ‘in the public interest’.

Within the next couple of weeks MPs will vote on The Infrastructure Bill, which proposes controversial changes to our Trespass Laws that will erode our land rights, and pave the way for fracking. Two Tory MPs have already urged David Cameron to release the report in full. Other MPs have also asked to see the complete report, yet still it remains redacted. It’s crucial that what’s hidden in this report is released before the Infrastructure Bill is finally voted on in Parliament, so that MPs can properly understand impacts that fracking will have on our house prices and our communities.

We all deserve to see the censored material in this important document that our government is keeping from us.

Please sign the petition to David Cameron demanding that the fracking report is placed in the public domain.

To add insult to injury, the ConDem government is planning to spend £80 million of our money, to fund the oil industry to drill exploration holes for fracking. No money for public services, but money can be found for the rich oil and gas industry.

The UK already has the most generous tax regime for the fracking industry, now we are paying them to drill.

We know that we cannot keep global temperature rises to below 2C (and even 2C limit will lead to more extreme weather events), unless we keep 80% of known reserves in the ground. Why are we drilling for more? Ever more dangerous sources of carbon: fracking, deepwater, Arctic, tar sands.

Please sign the petition calling on the ConDem government to end any payments to the fracking industry.

Romanian farmers v Chevron

December 7, 2014
I defend my land and my humble life!

I defend my land and my humble life!

We have potatoes to eat, an improvised stove. We protest to protect our way of life and our health. — Alexandru Focsa, local farmer at protest camp

Police arrived at night, they beat us up with batons and dragged us away. — Alexandru Focsa

Areas of the world where extractive industries, global corporations, are in conflict with local communities, are beginning to resemble war zones, blockades, razor wire, tooled-up para-military cops brutally beating peaceful protesters.

It is doubtful anyone other than the farming folk who live there, had ever heard of the Romanian village of Pungesti, until Chevron decided to frack for shale gas.

For the villagers, this was a threat to their way of life, they are dependent on clean water.

Doina Dediu:

Our kitchens are filled with home made jams and preserves, sacks of nuts, crates of honey and cheese, all produced by us.

We are not even that poor. Maybe we don’t have money, but we have clean water and we are healthy and we just want to be left alone.

Poverty is not measured by money, it is measured by quality of life.

A protest camp was established by local farmers. They were attacked by para-military police, people were dragged out of their houses and beaten. Such was the brutality, many had to be taken away in ambulances. Chevron brought in its own private security force.

The corrupt Romanian government claims it needs fracking to lessen its dependence on Russian gas. Romania is not dependent upon Russian gas, it has its own substantial gas reserves, there is nothing to stop Chevron exporting the shale gas to the West, where it would get a better price. Romania should invest in renewable energy.

Romania ranks high on international corruption indices.

What is laughable, corrupt officials on Romania are blaming Russia for the protests.

When one of the corrupt politicians was asked for proof of the money he had claimed Russia was pouring in to finance anti-fracking was forced to admit he had no proof, but then went on to say that only showed how clever the Russians were.

Romania Without Them, one of the groups fighting Chevron, was founded to fight corruption in Romania.

The villagers have said they wish to see alternative energy developed.

Thus hardly allies of Gazprom, and a dastardly Russian plot to keep Romania hooked up to Russian gas.

There is a heavy American presences in Romania. This appears to be more geared to upping the anti against Russia, than any genuine interest in Romania.

Pungesti farmers have every reason to kick out Chevron. In the Amazon, Texaco (now owned by Chevron) for thirty years contaminated pristine rainforest and rivers with oil and chemical contamination from their drilling operations. Chevron has been fined more than $18 billion, which they have refused to pay. Chevron is now being taken to the International Criminal Court.

Tell David Cameron to frack off

June 4, 2014
Greenpeace frack David Cameron

Greenpeace frack David Cameron

In the local and European elections two weeks ago, the mainstream political parties got a drubbing. What difference has it made? Seemingly not a lot, either they are not listening or they are showing their usual arrogant contempt for the people.

LibDems have a toxic leader who makes them unelectable. What are they doing about it? Er nothing.

Labour are still offering the same hated and discredited policies as the Tories.

David Cameron has offered an EU referendum sometime in Never Never Land. Ed Miliband has simply said never.

Zac Goldsmith and Caroline Lucas have been pushing for some time for the right of recall of MPs, ie the electorate can fire their MP. Measures were announced in the Queen’s Speech today. Measures that are not worth the paper they are written on.

The Day after the elections, David Cameron announced changes that would allow fracking under private property, those measures were included in the Queen’s Speech today. Imagine had those measures been announced the day before the elections, not the day after, imagine the Green Party had been given the same airtime as UKip?

When Greenpeace today set up fracking outside the home of David Cameron, they were asked by the police to desist. When protesters objected to fracking at Balcombe, they were asked by the police to desist.

The move to allow fracking under private property is an attack on democracy by the 1%, who own the political establishment lock, stock and barrel.

Please sign the petition opposing this relaxation of the law. Do you really want fracking under your house?

It must be made very clear to Members of Parliament, they are not there to act for the 1% nor is it an opportunity to get their snouts in the trough, they are there to act for the 99%.

Fracking

May 9, 2014

Fracking is a new, unproven technology, that risks contamination of ground water.

Frakka Hakka

February 5, 2014

Frakka Hakka, anti-fracking song, from Seize the Day.

‘Baseless economics’: Lord Stern on David Cameron’s claims that a UK fracking boom can bring down price of gas

January 26, 2014

Respected economist criticises the Government for encouraging rush into fracking without a thorough analysis of all its potential ramifications.

Lord Stern, author of the hugely influential Stern review on the financial implications of climate change, has dismissed David Cameron’s claims that a fracking boom in the UK can bring down the price of gas in the UK as “baseless”.

In an interview with The Independent, the respected economist said he was puzzled by the prime minister’s claim this month that “fracking has real potential to drive energy bills down… gas and electric bills can go down when our home-grown energy supply goes up”.

“I do think it’s a bit odd to say you know that it will bring the price of gas down. That doesn’t look like sound economics to me. It’s baseless economics,” said Lord Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics.

Gas is a commodity that can be traded on the international market, meaning that it will be sold to the highest bidder, whether inside or outside the UK. As a result, any shale gas boom in the UK would be unlikely to have an impact on the world price, Lord Stern said.

Lord Stern also criticised the Government for encouraging a rush into fracking without a thorough analysis of all its potential ramifications.

He says a proper investigation is needed into the environmental threats surrounding hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process which releases oil and gas from shale by blasting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into the rock. It has been linked to a series of environmental problems such as earthquakes and water pollution.

“There are major questions around fracking and those questions ought to be explored. We’ve not had a proper discussion on these serious issues,” said Lord Stern.

He is particularly concerned about whether some areas of the UK have enough water for such a water-intensive process, whether the country has enough space for such a space-consuming industry and whether fracking could pollute the water supply.

Britain’s shale gas industry is very much in its infancy, but the government is pushing it hard, offering huge tax breaks for producers and financial incentives for communities based near potential fracking sites.

However, many people in the UK are against the practice and a protest against the possibility of fracking in the West Sussex village of Balcombe has just entered its second month.

In a wide-ranging interview, Lord Stern said that evidence for man-made climate change is stronger than ever. He challenged climate sceptics to publish the opposing case in a peer-reviewed journal – where leading experts in the field are required to vouch for the work before it can be published.

“The science just gets stronger – There are going to be lots of oscillations, but there is a very powerful underlying trend and the science is overwhelming,” he said.

“Scientific scepticism is absolutely right, there’s always a role for scientific questioning, but those who wish to irrationally deny the science are not helping. The climate sceptics have been quite successful in terms of media air-time and noise, but not in terms of science. Bar-room chit-chat and graffiti do not help,” he added.

The 700-page Stern review was published in 2006 and is by far the most influential report into the economics of climate change. Its main conclusion was that early action on climate change made good business sense because it would prevent far greater costs further down the line as the impacts of global warming wreaked ever-greater havoc on the global economy.

Asked what he thought of government action since his review, Lord Stern praised the Climate Change Act of 2008, introduced by the previous Labour government. The Act sets a legally-binding target for the UK to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

However, he has been less impressed by the current government, which he criticises for undermining the confidence of much-needed investors in Britain’s energy infrastructure by frequently changing energy-related targets. These targets are crucial for investors because they help determine the market for any given power source in the years ahead and, in turn, the viability of investing in specific projects.

Lord Stern cites as an example the decision by Chancellor George Osborne to remove a clause from the Energy Bill currently passing through parliament that would have forced Britain’s electricity supply to become almost entirely green by 2030.

The clause, championed by Energy Secretary Ed Davey, signalled a clear commitment to driving down emissions by reducing the amount of power generated from fossil fuels.

However, Mr Osborne overruled the Energy Secretary at the last minute, replaced the so-called decarbonisation target with something far weaker and less certain. The replacement clause grants the government the power, from 2016, to require Britain’s electricity supply to become almost entirely green at some point in the future, show it vote to do so.

“Recent discussions have put some question marks around the degree of commitment [to reducing carbon emissions]….This is a significant deterrent to investment in both clean technology and hydrocarbon [power],”Lord Stern said.

“It is well known that there are divisions between the Treasury and DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change]. The government is not being clear enough. David Cameron, Ed Davey and George Osborne need to get together and give greater clarity,” he said.

Lord Stern on protests, China and emissions

* Lord Stern welcomed the increased use of gas if it is substituted for coal because it would bring down emissions. However, should the gas be used at the expense of renewable technologies such as wind and solar power “that is really worrying”, he said.

* He believes protests – such as the camp outside the potential fracking site in Balcombe and Greenpeace activists scaling the Shard in protest at Shell’s Arctic drilling plans – are an important part of a functioning democracy.

* Lord Stern says scientists had a lot more potentially alarming findings up their sleeves that they have not fully highlighted because they are particularly difficult to “model”. The problems associated with melting permafrost, or ground ice, in the Antartic are particularly alarming, he said.

* He is greatly encouraged by China’s increasing dedication to combating climate change which has survived the recent change in leadership. Together with a similarly-positive shift in the US, this significantly increases the chance of a global agreement to curb emissions the climate change summit in Paris 2015 because “they will be the leaders” of the crucial negotiations. Nonetheless, he pointed out that it remained “difficult to forecast” whether the hoped-for agreement would be reached.

* Lord Stern is less encouraged by “vacillation” in Europe but hopes that the next German government – which he expects to be a coalition led by Angela Merkel, a figure he greatly respects – could be “more positive”.

* He points out that “whichever way you look at it emissions are way too high” and the world is on course for a long-term increase temperature of 4C, rather than the 2C beyond which the consequences become increasingly devastating.

* Lord Stern says there is a basic contradiction between the supposed 2C target governments around the world have agreed to aim for and the amount of money invested in the fossil fuel industry. This is because to hit the 2C target at least two-thirds of oil, gas and coal reserves held by fossil fuel companies would have to stay in the ground, resulting in trillions of dollars of losses.

What Cameron said

On Monday August 12, David Cameron wrote in the Daily Telegraph:

“Fracking has the real potential to drive energy bills down. …many people are struggling with the cost of living today. Where we can relieve the pressure , we must. It’s simple – gas and electric bills can go down when our home-grown energy supply goes up.”

“The reservoir of untapped energy will help people across the country who work hard and want to get on: not just families but businesses, too, who are really struggling with the high cost of energy. Just look at the United States: they’ve got 10,000 fracking wells opening up each year and their gas prices are three-and-a-half times lower than here.”

These comments came just days after Mr Cameron told staff on a visit to Craft Paint, in Darwen, Lancashire, on Thursday August 8:

“I think we would be making a big mistake if we did not think hard about how to encourage fracking and cheaper prices right here in the UK. If you look at what’s happening in America with the advent of shale gas and fracking, their energy costs in business and their gas prices are half the level of ours… The EU has about three-quarters as much shale gas as the US, so we are missing out big time at the moment and I want to make sure that Britain does not miss out.”

Economic analysis of Cameron’s claim

Mr Cameron’s claim that fracking would probably bring down UK energy prices is mostly based on the fact that the fracking revolution in the US had substantially brought down prices. However, there is a huge difference between the way the US and the UK gas markets operated.

The US has essentially been an isolated market, which has meant that increases in supply have pushed down prices because gas producers have had limited scope to export to a higher bidder.

By contrast, the UK is plugged into an integrated European market through a series of giant gas interconnectors meaning that even a huge increase in domestic gas production – an eventually that is far from certain and at least a decade away – would be unlikely to dent the prevailing price for the continent.

Furthermore, the phenomenal growth in the fledgling liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is rapidly turning gas into a global market, making any contribution from UK production even less influential on the price.

LNG is created by liquefying the gas at minus 60C, shrinking it to 1/600 of its original size and making it easier to transport over long distance to gas-thirsty economies in Asia.

The growth of LNG is also likely to push prices up in the US, allowing the country to export its surplus gas outside of Canada and Mexico. This means that David Cameron’s comments about how the shale gas revolution has driven down prices in the US will also be less valid in the future for the US.

Huge question marks also remain over how much shale gas actually exists in UK rocks and, more importantly, how much can be commercially extracted in a country that is far more densely populated than the US and is generally far more opposed to local oil and gas developments. This is because the UK does not share America’s history and culture of onshore oil and gas production. Furthermore, in the US the landowner owns the mineral rights which in Britain belong to the government, providing a relative disincentive to allow fracking.

Published in The Independent.